tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC May 10, 2011 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT
donald trump would be one of them, maybe. >> maybe? we'll talk about that. payback from pakistan. u.s. officials call the outing of the cia station chief in islamabad intentional and unacceptable. plus, water logged. the mississippi crests near record highs in memphis. now people downriver prepare for the worst. >> the floodwaters are coming up. it is coming up. it is coming fast. >> i'm andrea mitchell live in washington. and we begin today with mixed signals for the white house. the president's ratings for foreign policy at an all time high. but handling the economy, well, not so much. the issue on which elections are won and lost at an all time low. chuck todd is msnbc news political director and joins us now. this is a mixed verdict. let's talk about both sides of the equation. >> it is. look, he got a spike in some of the prisms with which the american public views him as a commander in chief, on issues of foreign policy and national security.
you can see it, we tested not just his job rating on foreign policy, which is at 57%, which in our polarized environment, that's a pretty good number. pretty good number to have. but clearly you can see the economy is down. when we did our character attributes, the ones you could -- that you would sit there and say, these are probably foreign policy attributes, yes, the public viewed them and those numbers went up when it came to being firm and decisive, good commander in chief. you see the ones that have to do more with domestic issues, those numbers didn't move at all, whether it is agreeing with you on the positions uniting the country. but the public is looking at him through two prisms on the international front, they're approving. on the domestic front, they're not. >> the drag on this is the gas prices, the unemployment numbers. >> it is really just gas prices. i've talked to some folks in -- who do this political pulling and for months and they say you sit there and unemployment numbers, the announcements didn't really budge these numbers either way. it has been as gas -- they said
there is a direct correlation that if you plotted it on the graph, as gas prices have gone up over the last six weeks, the president's number on the economy have gone down. will they get a bump if all these predictions are true that by memorial day the price is going to be down 25 cents, 50 cents? that they weren't sure of, but they certainly will stop the bleeding. >> and on foreign policy, as you pointed out, 57% approval rating, strong ratings, he's got a lot of challenges though. we have an unresolved situation in syria which is blowing up every day. libya still a stalemate. and pakistan now, outing the station chief of the cia. this is the crown jewels of national secrets. the second time in five months. people are furious. i just talked to people here in the administration, furious about this. and they are going to the pakistanis and saying, you know, if you want to get serious, why don't you go after the bad guys, go after the foreign militants,
don't pay back the united states. >> you outlined the three why -- why the white house loves to argue we don't have a doctrine. you just outlined three countries. i've talked to some folks that watch us and they're very frustrated with this white house when it comes to how they handled syria. it is not just them, that the entire western world hasn't united in some more aggressive way when it comes to syria. then we know how they're handling libya. and now go to pakistan, which is, you know, the president made a decision to be a little more u unilateral and get tougher, that there isn't this where bush felt as if he had to do whatever the pakistanis wanted. it is what kerry and luger do. both of them on the senate side try to have this bipartisan support. and you see that there is three examples of ways. there isn't a doctrine with this obama, they deal with this country by country. >> if there isn't a doctrine, there is one thing completely ignored, the middle east, king abdullah of jordan coming here next week as is benjamin netanyahu from israel. there is a complete gap on the
israeli palestinian front on a lot of pending deadlines. wasn't to ask you about this immigration trip today. he's gone to the border. he's trying to reignite, kick start the debate, however you want to frame it. but hispanic leaders, not happy, that he's not delivered on his 2008 campaign promise. and really isn't going to be able to. >> look, they're trying to shift -- what they're trying to do is shift the conversation saying we're trying to rally people behind this issue. we're trying to bring attention to it. this is the white house's position on this front. that's, at this point, what our job is. you got to start strong arming republicans who were, for some of this comprehensive reform, say three years ago, who are against it now. >> chuck todd, on all things. you'll be talking tonight about the republican -- >> the republican field. >> the republican field. >> you're right, speaker boehner had fascinating things -- it is what he said, and what he didn't say. >> what he didn't say. >> who he didn't mention. going to get him into trouble. >> and more than half the country as chuck is reporting,
is the president doing a good job when it comes to handling a crisis? bill macintyre is a republican polster with public opinion strategies and half of the big team on the nbc news poll. the leadership factors as chuck was alluding to, 50%. what does this say in terms of the leadership qualities as you see a republican field trying to go after the president? >> well, it means the president, as he should have, has gotten -- has a sizable jump in personal attributes because of what happened with osama bin laden. this is a reset. the numbers that we're looking at look just like the summer of 2009, two years ago, he was starting his administration. and if you think about all the bad political news the president had in the last two years, if i were them, i'm sure he's happy to be back with a new chance at the american electorate. as you said, the difficulty is the economy is still a major weighing anker in terms of trying to get any lift and any
substantial lift on his -- overall job approval. >> and as you point out on leadership, he's also below 50%, on achieving his goals. 41% on uniting the country. 40% on sharing your -- the people sharing his positions. 30%, 38% i should point out. so in this poll there are some troubling numbers in terms of people identifying with him and his goals. >> well, actually, one question we have been tracking over time is how much confidence do you have the president has the right programs and policies. and actually stunningly six out of ten people say they lack confidence in the president's overall programs and policies. i thought that was a number that was going to improve because of what happened in pakistan. so this is a really incredibly interesting poll, where we gave people 14 minutes of questions like a menu, and watching americans pick out what things they feel better about the president and what things they did not change was really a compelling and interesting polling exercise and what didn't
change was this notion about their still having some doubts and concerns about his overall program policies. >> he's hit the reset button, but it is still soft. and at the same time, right track, wrong track, that's one of the classic thermometer questions, that's not good. 50% to 38%. >> 50% still say wrong track. that's dropped 14 points. that shows you how much movement was created because of this event. a problem for the president is that most of the time i think as pollsters, we have gone back and looked at other international episodes. what we were saying is historically, presidents in this situation average somewhere like a 9 or 12 point job approval bounce. this president got about 6 points. that's good. 6 points in the average, 3 points in the nbc "wall street journal." that's good, but not as large as we expect. you have to as a pollster say why didn't it go up as much as we think? one reason -- so one reason is
because the polarization of our politics, the polarization of attitudes about the president. but as well, we know that people are telling us in this poll they still don't think the economy is getting better and that's the drag in any incoming president. >> i should point out, it was 36%, i should say, for right track, 50% for wrong track. want to make sure we got the numbers correct. thank you very much, bill macintyre, thank you very much for being with us. and stu rothenberg is a contributing writer for "roll call" and editor of "the rothenberg report." what is your takeaway from the nbc poll? >> well, andrea, i always remind myself that these are snapshots and it was done in a particular context after a major event. a nice little uptick for the president, but there are so many events between now and november of 2012, including a big debt limit vote coming up, foreign policy and domestic issues, that i would expect these numbers to start to sag back. it is a nice bump for the president. but questions remain about his
agenda. also about independent voters who don't seem to be rallying to him. >> the strategy of john boehner going to the economic club of new york, then, on the "today" program with matt lauer and ruling out taxes and calling for bigger cuts, even setting the bar very high for a successful conclusion to an agreement at least on the debt ceiling. >> i wouldn't expect an agreement in the near term. this is a play that is playing out on both the republican and democratic sides. as the leadership of both parties for the moment plays to the base. we can't have an early agreement because at the end of the day, boehner needs to go to the tea party folks and say i got all i could. i played this out to the very end of the string and this is the best i could get. it seems to me the democrats have to do the same thing with their base. >> and tim geithner has given them leeway by saying when you judge how tax receipts are coming in, they juggle the book and get through until august. we're not looking at may, we're looking at august as the drop dead deadline.
anything short of that, there could be marked implications, bond market implications if the markets don't think washington is serious about this. >> of course. speaker boehner has two very different things. he has said there won't be -- they won't raise the debt limit unless there is corresponding deficit reduction and he's also said that absolutely we're going to raise the debt limit, we're going to abide by our obligations. >> and at the same time, you've had mixed signals from eric cantor, from dave camp, the head of ways and means and importantly from paul ryan about whether medicare and the big deal is or is not part of these negotiations. >> i was talking to a republican strategist earlier this morning who said to me that his members, that is republican candidates who now are elected members of congress, have been getting hammered for weeks and weeks and months on debt and this is what republican voters really care about, it is debt and spending and deficit.
and the party has to maintain a very hard line position on this. >> thank you very much. stu rothenberg. still ahead, disaster in the delta, will the levees hold, will residents downstream be spared? and next, we're live in islamabad where pakistan has done it again. leaked top secret cia information to the bad guys. this is "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. uh, i'm in a timeout because apparently riding the dog like it's a small horse is frowned upon in this establishment! luckily though, ya know, i conceal this bad boy underneath my blanket just so i can get on e-trade. check my investment portfolio, research stocks... wait, why are you taking... oh, i see...solitary. just a man and his thoughts. and a smartphone... with an e-trade app. ♪ nobody knows... [ male announcer ] e-trade. investing unleashed.
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the name was slightly misspelled in one of pakistan's leading newspapers, but the message was clear. u.s. officials believe that pakistan spy agency deliberately leaked the identity of the cia station chief there, a veteran operative, key player in the bin laden raid. a senior official tells me today, "there is no reason to think that this is not intentional. it is unacceptable." only five months ago, pakistan
leaked the name of a station chief's predecessor causing that official to return earlier than expected to the united states. nbc's syma mosin joins us. this is a big deal as far as u.s. officials are concerned. what are pakistani officials saying? >> reporter: well, this will be seen as a campaign as far as pakistan's military is concerned because they have to take the heat off themselves and there has been a lot of criticism both within the national press, the public opinion, and, i understand, within the ranks of the military here. so this will clearly be seen as a way of trying to deflect any criticism of themselves. but just to put some context for you about the newspaper, it is a very pro pakistan military, anti-american newspaper. this is part of a very long running campaign over the last two years where the nation has printed photographs of houses, allegedly where american officials live, or u.s. embassy
people live or even as we heard recently cia officials live. >> the fallout from this is going to continue, i'm told that the u.s. is going to go to pakistani officials today and have some very serious conversations. i assume in washington as well as over in your part of the world. thank you very much. and we're learning today that the president ordered extra troops for the bin laden raid to fight pakistani forces directly in case they encountered them on the ground when going in. how is such a complicated mission planned and carried out? we're joined by a former member of the elite delta force, brad taylor, the author of the new book "one raough man," a fictional account of the special forces. thank you for joining us. first of all, this word today that the president had ordered extra troops there in case they, first of all, needed to interrogate him if he was taken alive, but more likely in case they encountered resistance on the ground. how do you assess the way this
operation was set up and that decision in part? >> well, i think that would be a natural decision. i don't think it was extra forces per se, i think they had extra forces planned all along. the worst case scenario you could have, you hit the compound, it is a dry hole and osama wasn't there. the worst case would be if they reacted to the compound and you had what we used to call an alamo situation. you definitely didn't want that. they would have had a contingency to break out if they had to get out of the area. >> i was told that they really studied hard on what happened with desert one and jimmy carter, that that was one of the templates before they organized how they were going in. how important was that and, in fact, what we have learned since is that the special forces, jsoc and the kinds of teams you operated in, created and changed dramatically after that failure in 1980. >> definitely. one of the problems with the
desert one was each individual piece of the mission was rehearsed unilaterally by themselves. we pieced all together, we learned a pretty valuable lesson. as far as desert one, we have done missions with the same links that these guys did since 9/11. so we learned probably more from those specific missions in desert one. desert one had completely different equipment, completely different flight characteristics, everything was different back then. >> how would you assess the difficulty of this mission compared to some that you have known? >> i would say, well, that's a two-tiered question. the -- on the ground itself, i had no doubt that those guys got on the ground, very little that will stand in their way. that compound is a compound just like hundreds of others they assaulted both in afghanistan and iraq. obviously they had incredible national strategic importance, but the truth of the matter is that thing was -- that's a fire fight. having said that, getting in, penetrating a sovereign country, penetrating the radar, the
flight times involved, they had to have two different tiers of what they were going to do on the ground. i've heard people say they went in to assassinate bin laden. that's not the case. they went into capture him. i know those guys personally. and if he's dead, it is because he showed hostile intent. having said that, they had a chain, there is a whole chain set up that didn't do anything that are prepared to take him alive. >> in one rough man, your fictional account, you talk about an extra legal commando unit. here what we're dealing with is a highly awarded and acknowledged very legal team. does -- talk to me about going outside the law with this kind of commando unit and what you were trying to achieve in your novel. >> actually, we would never do that. the funny thing is, the reason my unit in the book is extra legal is because i precisely didn't want anybody saying i was writing fiction or real units i served in. i made something that i thought
nobody would accuse me of writing the real thing. and then the minute i typed the end, they had news reports about assassination teams working for dick cheney and things like that. it doesn't happen. we all work within a framework, title 10, title 50, how we're going to execute this and all done in accordance with u.s. law. >> colonel brad taylor, thank you for joining us today. and coming up next, meet newt gingrich's secret weapon for 2012. politico up next right here on "andrea mitchell reports." she felt lost...
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factor in all of this? >> well, andrea i think she's an extremely important factor to his candidacy. for gingrich, one of the biggest hurdles to being taken seriously especially by core social conservative voters is his sort of checkered personal history. so if he's going to win over the hearts and minds of the republican base, he's going to need to convince them that this is a really serious, authentic, loving marriage and there is only one other person who can help him do that. >> of course, one of the issues is that their relationship was under way on the hill while he was busy campaigning against bill clinton and the white house for infidelity on the impeachment issues. so does this become a factor in socially conservative places like the republican caucus in iowa? >> it sure does. gingrich in the run-up to deciding whether he was going to run for president has met in many cases quietly with faith groups and places like iowa and new hampshire. he's talked about his marriage, his several marriages and his current marriage. and, you know, you talk to
christian leaders in those early states, some of them remain skeptical of him, but some say, look, we're a forgiving bunch, we want to know he's learned from his mistakes and he needs to keep talking about it. >> one of the things -- he's talked about it, written about it, he said he's sought god's forgiveness. what i can tell you is when i did things that were wrong, i wasn't engaged in situational eth ethics, i was doing things wrong, i felt compelled to seek for god's forgiveness, not his understanding but god's forgiveness. in a later answer he said he was working so hard that he ignored his marriage or didn't pay enough attention to his marriage. is that going to fly? >> well, i think the first answer you mentioned is better than the second answer. that notion that he was under so much pressure that he strayed in his personal life. that's not a great explanation to give for someone who is campaigning for the highest job in the world. but, you know, the notion that he has sought forgiveness from a forgiving god, that he's not trying to paper over his mistakes, that's where he really
needs to go. >> but, of course, he is probably the best known of many of the people in this crowded nonannounced field and he's going to probably get a lot of attention. >> he certainly is. and part of that is that he's very, very good at drawing attention to himself. it is not just for his marriage. it is also his record of sometimes erratic policy statements that he has made. he's already having to answer questions about his past support for cap and trade. >> okay. thanks so much from politico. and up next, residents in the mississippi are bracing for the worst case scenario. the president and immigration reform, critics are asking can one speech make up for several years of inaction? [ nurse ] i'm a hospice nurse.
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used to hire thousands of new workers and will positively impact several of gm's big production plants. on capitol hill today, senator chuck schumer pressed executives from apple and google about their refusal to remove software that helps drunk drivers evade police from online stores. questioning was one part of the senate judiciary hearing on privacy and mobile devices. it comes a few weeks after it was discovered that apple's popular iphone stored user locations in unprotected and easily readable files. in japan, about 100 evacuees from the nuclear exclusion zone near the fukushima power plant were briefly allowed back into their homes to gather some personal belongings. the first time that japan's government has deemed the area safe enough for such a return. the evacuees war protective suits, goggles and face masks for their two-hour visit. they monitored radiation levels in their homes and removed personal items in plastic bags. japan's prime minister announced today his country is going to scrap a plan to obtain half of
its electricity from nuclear power in the wake of the ongoing nuclear crisis there. the country will instead focus on renewable energy and conservation. and developing right now, the mississippi river has crested in memphis with disastrous results. the river reached a height of almost 48 feet around 2:00 this morning. it will remain that high for up to 36 hours. hundreds of people have abandoned their homes, many more are preparing to do the same downriver. nbc's jay gray is live for us in memphis. jay, you've seen the worst of it now. it will last for a while. >> reporter: you're absolutely right. a great point, andrea. let's give you a real time look at the mississippi now, three times as wide as it should be here in memphis. and you can see how that current is really rushing to the south and moving down river. we have a graphic that explains what is going on here. let's look at that. you can see how the river will crest here in memphis, but it is not going to just all go away. it is still going down to the south, to mississippi, ultimately, into louisiana.
a more graphic example of the lingering problems perhaps can be seen from the air. let's look at the latest aerials over mississippi. you can see neighborhoods that are just flooded out and these homes are going to stay this way for a couple of weeks. this is going to be a very real problem. in fact, emergency managers telling residents here, don't rush back to your homes too quickly. we got a lot of time to let things sort out. this is dangerous water, potentially toxic. so we don't want you to get back into that area. now a live look at downtown memphis, water has moved into that area as well. some streets closed. no businesses to this point. that's the good news. it is going to be an inconvenience. andrea, it will be one that lasts for a long time here and further to the south. >> and briefly, jay, i know it is a beautiful day where you are in memphis. you said there was more rain forecast for part of the mississippi delta. is that still the case or have they gotten a better forecast? >> no. unfortunately these guys just can't get a break. they are going to see more rain
by the end of the week. that's going to add to the problems here. it is going to keep the water in the neighborhoods and other areas longer than it would be. just a bad deal right now. >> the last thing they need, jay gray. thank you very much. and two hours from now, the president is going to renew his push for immigration reform in el paso, texas. last week, the hispanic caucus complained to him at the white house that he hadn't even started to deliver on his campaign promise of immigration reform. joining us now, congresswoman linda sanchez, serving on the subcommittee on immigration. today, the speech, is this more of the same, is this a good sign, what is your impression? >> i always think it is a good sign when the topic of immigration reform comes up. it is something that has been building over the course of a decade, and something we desperately need to address. the president putting it front most in the spotlight to talk about it i think is a good thing. >> your colleague from illinois was on the show, a while ago, and congressman gutierrez said
that he wants to see more and even said that he's not automatically going to sort the president nlsz unless he sees m. >> i want to support barack obama for re-election. but the lack of progress on immigration reform and the lack of action that barack obama, our president, has, the discretion he has is really making that job difficult for me. so when i look at a community of people that is undecided, i want to bring them to the decision table in favor of the president. but the president has to act to complete his promise. >> congresswoman, is the president taking your caucus and your group, more largely speaking, for granted? >> i think the president has done a lot to try to move the issue of immigration reform along. and an example of that is in the house last term, we were able to pass the dream act. but it was republican filibustering in the senate that prevented that from happening.
the president can't single handedly pen an immigration bill and sign it. it takes both houses of the legislature to do that. and so we need to build support. i think the president is going to a strategy that is one way to do it and that's to talk to businesses and outside groups to make the case to their legislators that we need to get moving on this. and if he's successful in igniting the sort of grassroots push, to motivate those who have been withholding their votes on immigration reform, or those who have been completely opposed to immigration reform, i think that is a strategy for getting it done. now, granted there are sensible things that he can do, via executive order, to help move that peace as well. i'm hopeful he'll consider some of those options. but the president can't single handedly do it on his own. and, again, the fact he's raising the issue and beginning the drumbeat again i think is a very positive thing. >> and bottom line, what can you do by executive action that you would like to see that he hasn't done? >> there are different things
with respect to enforcement. there are a number of what are called dream act kids, very talented kids who were brought to this country when they were infants or young children, they had no say in that, they have grown up here, they consider their country their own, they have shown tremendous academic success, they want to be able to afford to go to college and then they bump up against the reality that they're not in the country in a documented status. so, you know, there are a number of things that the president can do to try to work with, you know, categories of people who are here in the united states to sort of allow them to stay while we try to get comprehensive immigration reform passed for these very talented students. >> at the same time -- by the same token, we see data that shows that deportations increase. they're at a 10% faster pace than they were under george w. bush. so is that counterintuitive with the effort that you want to see?
>> no. i believe that, you know, dangerous people who are in the country illegally should be deported. i think that the president made a commitment to increasing border security and trying to halt the dangerous element from coming into this country. and i think that's what that -- some of those deportation numbers show. if you look at the number of detentions now, it is actually dropped and i think that that shows some success in terms of fewer numbers of people trying to come across the border. so, you know, i think that the president is on the right track in terms of saying we really need to focus our resources, our time and attention on the bad element that we don't want to see in this country, but there is a tremendous amount of good that comes from immigration. there are immigrants that can contribute to the economy, immigrants that are stellar students. they live in our neighborhoods, they are oftentime the glue that binds our communities together. and we need to start addressing those groups of people that we want to stay in this country because they're making a huge
contribution. they're a positive element in this country. we can't just keep them on the fringes forever. we have to find a way to incorporate them into the mainstream of our society. >> congresswoman sanchez, thank you very much. and for the political side of this, with immigration reform stalled, will latino voters get behind the president's re-election campaign? brent wilkes is the executive director of the league of united latin american citizens. there is a political disconnect here. the president clearly wants to fulfill his campaign promise. but he's got a house republican and republican group in the senate with some democrats who are also blocking it. so what can he do along the margin? >> we think he can do a lot. starting with the speech today. it is a great speech, and we think this is the kind of thing he needs to do. we wish he had done it two years ago because that would have been a great way to kick off the campaign. but i think the types of things he can do concretely, if he does go ahead and exercise his executive authority to extend
temporary protected status or deferred adjudication to the majority of hard working immigrants who are here without status but not doing anything else wrong, that would be a step to prod the congress to start taking this issue seriously and get moving on it, because if they don't want the president to do it unilaterally, they'll have to step up and pass a comprehensive bill of their own, one that kind of lays out a legal and orderly process for helping bring in undocumented population. >> the data show that 68% of the population is hispanic, only 9% voted. or 16% of those who could have voted. so there is a big dropoff there of enthusiasm. >> there is. you have to -- the hispanic population is the youngest population in the country. not everybody is eligible to vote. not everybody is a citizen yet. and not eligible to vote. but the truth is that the hispanic population will continue to play a major, important role in the elections from here on out. and i think the president is aware of this, the republican party is aware of this, so are
the democrats, of course. it is important for these parties to say, here's how we're going to address key issues that are important to the hispanic community. if you want the hispanic vote, don't just do festivals and things like that, but come in and lay out concrete plans. immigration is one of those key litmus issues for the community. and there is an opening for both parties to be honest with you at the moment. if the republicans step forward and unveil a plan to get this job done, and do something in a fair and comprehensive manner, they have got a great opportunity to reach out to the hispanic population and the president clearly understands he needs to do the same. it is going to be interesting as we get closer to elections. >> the republicans are in areas in a lot of these red states with growing hispanic populations, yet the same time, they have in the past stumbled as far as the hispanic community is concerned. we have seen what happened with jan brewer in arizona and back in the day, what happened with the propositions in california, that really turned a republican hispanic vote into a democratic vote. more reliably democratic vote back decades ago.
>> absolutely. sometimes they talk and they do outreach activities and can help themselves and go back to a jan brewer strategy, which is clearly divisive, clearly it is going to be pushing latinos away from the republican party. that's where they are right now. they got to do something if they want to try to say we are the party of the big tent, we want to reach out to hispanic voters. they can't put jan brewer up as the spokesperson for the party. president obama won't have to do anything, he can just sit back and let the voters come to him. >> he may take it for granted and may not deliver on some of the promises, so it is your job, i presume, to keep the pressure on both sides. >> it is. we're working hard to do that. we think that despite the challenges that immigration reform is the right thing to do. think about it, the economy is not in good shape now, but the president doesn't have a lot of stimulus options left. one of the great stimulus activities for the country in the past has been to have immigrants come in, assimilate areas that are low income, one
congressman even mentioned detroit being an area that would be perhaps an immigrant empowerment zone. the idea is let the immigrant community come in, work hard and stimulate our economy. they have done so many times over the past. they can do so now. and that's the way that -- to do something that doesn't even cost the treasury anything. in fact, they'll gain tax revenue off of that rather than lose it. >> brent, thank you very much. >> thanks for having me on. up next, nbc's richard engel live in libya where nato is stepping up the fight after weeks of deadlock. first, check out this scary landing in colorado. officials say a helicopter was shooting video of a skateboarding race when the chopper lost altitude, spectators ran for cover. fortunately no one was hurt. [ female announcer ] you have all this chicken. time to mix it up with new philly cooking creme. it'll make your chicken creamier,
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live in tennessee and mississippi. the massive cleanup effort is under way after the mississippi river crested just shy of an all time record of nearly 48 feet. hundreds are in shelters in tennessee and people living in states downstream are bracing for what is coming their way. i'll talk with the mayor of memphis. plus, an airline tells a dying breast cancer patient she can't board an airplane because she is too frail. two different doctors cleared her for the flight. but the airline refused. it is today's "newsnation" gut check. and now to libya where nato air strikes bombarded tripoli, the fiercest bombing in several weeks. another big concern is the looming refugee crisis. the u.n. has asked for a brief stop in the war to get more aid to those trying to escape. and where is gadhafi? nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel is live in benghazi. a lot of questions, richard, but not a good situation there, especially this refugee crisis is critical. >> reporter: the refugee crisis is critical.
but actually here in benghazi there is a feeling of optimism now. they feel that nato has intensified pressure over the last 24 hours or so. they have made some gains on the eastern front. they have managed to push outside of misrata, advancing about 20 miles in the direction of tripoli, which is clearly the direction they want to go. the refugee crisis is a humanitarian tragedy, no doubt. it is severe in misrata. it is also severe, surprisingly, in tripoli itself. most of the -- the most -- the refugees who are in the worst condition are these african workers, people from sub-saharan africa who are stuck in misrata, stuck in tripoli, and last friday several hundred of them tried to get on a boat. there are some reports that they were corralled on to a boat in tripoli by gadhafi's forces. nato had not been able to confirm that. nato says it is very concerned by those reports if they're true. if they were corralled or just
rushed on the ship, they overloaded it. the ship went down and their bodies are still being located. >> richard engel on all things, the latest from libya. thank you, richard. our nbc, msnbc family lost a giant. a giant in broadcasting and cable news. jeff groundic was a pioneer, started in this business 52 years ago when television news was new, it was being invented. he helped create it. he started out with cbs with douglas edwards, a 15-minute broadcast that became the cbs evening news. he was a variereporter during vietnam. he had election coverage in 1964 and 1968. he was one of the first producers on "60 minutes." jeff went on to abc in 1972 and eventually became the executive producer of "world news tonight." jeff produced coverage of every political convention and every election night from 1980 to 1992 for abc. the next year we were fortunate enough to get him to come to nbc
news where he was my boss at "nightly news." lifting our broadcast with tom brokaw and brian williams from third place to first where it remains of course today. i'm told jeff's sudden death last night, he was a very special person to all of us and special adviser to nbc and msnbc. hoping to grow our reach internationally in achieving great success from africa to europe to asia to the middle east and south america. jeff groundic was thoughtful, funny, touching, smart and sweet. a dear man. try as he did to hide all that behind the rough exterior of a veteran newsman. simply put, he was the best in the business. our thoughts and prayers today are with jeff's wife beth and their children, bob and kate. he was 72. [ woman ] jogging stroller. you've been stuck in the garage while i took refuge from the pollen that made me sneeze. but with 24-hour zyrtec®, i get prescription strength relief from my worst allergy symptoms. so lily and i are back on the road again. with zyrtec® i can love the air®.
the couple has asked the media and public to respect their privacy at this time. they were seen together just this past saturday at marimaria nephew's graduation. and what political story will be making headlines in the next 24 hours? msnbc contributor and managing editor of postpolitics.com chris cillizza joins us. hi, chris. the president, the immigration battle, the drug war, the border. this is a big stop for the president on his political tour. >> you know what's fascinating about it, with he talked a little bit about this yesterday, this speech isn't going to be the kind of democrats good on immigration, republicans bad on immigration speech that at least a cynical political reporter like myself might have thought. instead, at least what we know from the early reporting, is it's going to be a speech about how president obama has worked to toughen border security. more of a play in political terms at least, more of a play to that sort of conservative minded swing voter more than
firming up hispanic and latino voters for president obama. very interesting tactically that not only is he going to the border focusing on the issue but taking that border enforcement tact rather than focusing more on path to citizenship that might win him a little bit more kudos with the hispanic community. >> the key to it is napolitano and the increased deportation rates. that's the card that they're playing. it tells wyou what they think their weaknesses are. and we'll see the face book/twitter announcement from newt gingrich. >> you know, andrea, i have talked to lots and lots of people about gingrich who have followed his career. he was elected to congress in 1978. there's been a lot of ups and downs. they tell me this, there's a good newt and a bad newt. the good newt, incredibly gift the policy mind, very good speaker, good fund-raiser. the bad newt is over spoken, says the wrong things, goes off on rhetorical tangents.
which one shows up will tell you how serious to take him. >> and i had never accuse you of being a cynical political reporter, not you, chris cilliz cillizza. >> thank you. >> that does it for us. tomorrow on the show senator pat toomey joins us to talk about his budget plan and p.j. crowley on bin laden, pakistan, and libya. hi, tamron. >> we're following the severe flooding in the south and some areas of mississippi people can only get around by boat. homes and businesses have been destroyed. hundreds of people still right now in shelters. we'll get the latest on the devastating flooding there. also in the next hour, president obama touches down in texas for that big speech on immigration. but is this speech coming too late? some question whether the speech is just something the president can check off his to-do list. "news nation" is minutes away. d? it sounded like the chocobeast. the what? half man, half beast. he'll stop at nothing to sink his fangs
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for many with arthritis pain and inflammation. plus, in clinical studies, celebrex is proven to improve daily physical function so moving is easier. and celebrex is not a narcotic. when it comes to relieving your arthritis pain, you and your doctor need to balance the benefits with the risks. all prescription nsaids, like celebrex, ibuprofen, naproxen, and meloxicam have the same cardiovascular warning. they all may increase the chance of heart attack or stroke, which can lead to death. this chance increases if you have heart disease or risk factors such as high blood pressure or when nsaids are taken for long periods. nsaids, including celebrex, increase the chance of serious skin or allergic reactions or stomach and intestine problems, such as bleeding and ulcers, which can occur without warning and may cause death. patients also taking aspirin and the elderly are at increased risk for stomach bleeding and ulcers. do not take celebrex if you've had an asthma attack, hives, or other allergies to aspirin, nsaids or sulfonamides. get help right away if you have swelling of the face or throat, or trouble breathing. tell your doctor your medical history and find an arthritis treatment for you.
i'm tamron hall. the "news nation" is following developing news out of mississippi where boat is now the only possible travel option for some residents after the mississippi river swelled to its highest level in nearly 75 years. the river crested this morning just shy of 48 feet, 7 inches short of the all-time record set bark in 1937. emergency workers say it is likely to linger at or near that level for several more days. >> all we can do now is let the water go down, try to keep people safe, keep them patient, give them the assistance they need, and because this is goss to be with us for another few weeks. and several states across the south for bracing for more damage to homes, crops, and refineries. in tune ka, mississiptunica, mil nine casinos are closed. engineers opened